The Westland Gazelle AH 1 entered service in 1974 and a total of 158 were produced. In British service they have primarily been operated unarmed as Air Observation Posts and Airborn Forward Air Controlers along with more routine activity such as command liaison and casualty evacuation. Some were armed with machine guns for the Falklands deployment in 1982.
They were fitted with a roof mounted observation site in either the late 80s or early 90s which allowed the bulk of the aircraft to remain concealed whilst still being in a position of observation as well as providing electro optic stabilised and TI? capability. In the OP Recce role they would be operated at very low level when in close proximity to the enemy. There small size and agility made them difficult to spot and ideal for working there way round enemy positions. They frequently operated in conjunction with battle groups through out the period of interest.
The Airfix model which is about the only source of this aircraft is now only produced in an annoying starter set which provides glue and paint of marginal value. The kit itself is very simple comprising some 40 parts only. Fit and moulding is generally good and the aircraft is simple to assemble with no real difficulties and only minimal amounts of filler required on seams. As I paint out all my windows I did not bother with the interior detail.
I wanted mine to be instantly recognisable as part of the Recce Group I decided to build the roof mounted site. The first part is to build the plinth which was built up with plasticard and filler on the left hand side of the aircraft roof then filed into shape.
The sight was then built on this platform using a variety of card stock products to generate a reasonable approximation of the shape.
The completed aircraft was then mounted on a 40mm round base using plastic rod, the aircraft is depicted flying just off the ground as would be necessary in forward areas. The kit is an excellent little model with the major detail failing being the connection between the rotor and the engine which has no detail what so ever.
I painted it in the light Grey and Green scheme of the army air corps shown on the images above after some experimentation I settled on Vajello sky grey, washed with Badab Black, panels painted in in sky grey, pin washed in badab black, dry brushed with sky grey and white. The Grey areas were over washed with a dilute solution of Sky Grey
The Green areas were painted using Vajjelo Luftwaffe Green, dry brushed with Luftwaffe Grren and Iraqi Sand. which I think is a pretty good match for the green in the images. All the windscreens were painted in black grey, decals were as supplied with the kit.
Rick Ingham's Aircraft Picture site, Check it out it has some excellent photos of Aircraft and equipment